While they were not treasonous despite what some Democrats have claimed, President Trump’s Helsinki summit comments were heartbreaking and disappointing — so much so that not only did many of the president’s strongest supporters, such as Newt Gingrich, question him, but the president himself offered clarification on Tuesday. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan was among those critical of the president’s comments, and this has reignited a debate between some Republicans as to whether or not the governor should be supported (“Never Hogan”). But the debate misses many important points.

The simple truth is, you can support both the president and the governor no matter what one thinks of the other — and Marylanders should. Gov. Hogan’s commitment to Maryland cannot be questioned, and he has delivered on many important promises to our state — from lowering fees and cutting regulations to expanding the economy, to name only a few.


We also have to remember that so many of the Democrats who have suddenly become Reagan fans, and who are now crying “treason,” only a few years ago mocked presidential candidate Mitt Romney when he declared Russia to be America’s biggest geopolitical threat. That was when then-President Obama made his infamous joke about the Cold War wanting its foreign policy back — after he scrapped the Eastern European missile defense shield and urged a Russian reset before Putin’s Russia decided it was simply going to militarily seize part of Ukraine. And of course, controversy around the deal aside, why would American uranium be sold to a place like Russia at all?

How many of those same Democrats challenged then-President George W. Bush’s decision to use American military assets to fly home Georgian troop contingents (then serving in Iraq alongside American forces) to defend the tiny pro-American nation of Georgia — which Russia brutally invaded in the late summer of 2008?

And if we turn the clock back to the 1980s, just how many Democrats actually opposed then-President Reagan’s confrontation of socialism and Communism in all their monstrous forms and incarnations throughout the world? Reagan approached the Soviet Union from the fact that America was morally sound. Reagan’s leftist opponents approached the Soviet Union on the level of moral equivalency.

The only thing that those certain Democrats have been consistent about when it comes to Russia, Communism, the Cold War, and more, is their inconsistency between now and then. But for the sake of argument, say that those certain Democrats have finally seen the light. If they’ve suddenly become Reaganite Cold Warriors set against a Russian-style autocracy in defense of American republicanism, why are they cheering on government-centric socialist personalities in their own party? Those particular Democrats should not be playing on history for contemporary convenience, because history is not on their side.

It is from the understanding that the United States is inherently a far morally better place than Russia still is that Gov. Hogan levels his correct criticism of Putin. President Trump, until Russia, has approached other powers in the same constructivist, Reaganesque sense — that the moral composition of countries will determine how the United States deals with them. This is how our UN Ambassador, Nikki Haley, and conservative Republicans approach international relations. And while we may critique one another, we must never critique our nation when on the world stage. It is earnestly hoped that Helsinki was a mistake, rather than a portent.

We must also remember that the enemy is not to be found in our president or our governor, or in fellow Americans, but in Russian involvement. We know that Russians attempted to skew the 2016 election either way — made painfully apparent at the congressional Facebook hearings — and this is wholly unacceptable. We Americans determine our own destiny.

We also draw from this that Russians are looking to exacerbate and exploit American political differences, because if Russia remembers one thing clearly from the Cold War, it is that nations like America can only be brought down from within. The easiest way to do that is to set Americans against one another. And those certain Democrats play right into Russian hands when they label Republicans as traitors, Nazis, fascists, tyrants, and more -using language of moral caliber better applied to actual enemies themselves.

Yes, we can critique or support the president’s remarks or the governor’s response. We can critique or support their positions, their policies, and their politics. We can choose to vote for them or not. But we cannot ignore either the reality of history or the truth of the present, including where it concerns Russia. Neither can we Americans allow disagreement to make actual enemies out of each other.